HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! Sadly, I didn't get a chance to think up a costume for this year (especially here in Japan) but IF I COULD, I would have dressed up in an Oiran fashioned kimono. What's an Oiran you ask? First let me tell you about my Oiran photoshoot.
Back in August, one of my friends randomly emailed me asking if I wanted to join her in a photoshoot at a new photo studio that opened here in the heart of Gion, Kyoto. When she gave me the website to check out what kind of photos we were going to be taking, I was surprised! I was expecting the typical Maiko-san type of photos (since we ARE in Kyoto after all) but instead I saw vibrant colored, Obi-bow-switched-to-the-front-wearing Oirans!
"Oiran (花魁) were courtesans in Japan. The oiran were considered a type of yūjo (遊女) "woman of pleasure" or prostitute. However, they are distinguished from the yūjo in that they were entertainers"
"To entertain their clients, oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry, and calligraphy, and an educated wit was considered essential for sophisticated conversation."
Geishas and Oirans:
"(Geishas) Gradually, they all became specialized and the new profession, purely of entertainment, arose. It was near the turn of the eighteenth century that the first entertainers of the pleasure quarters, called geisha, appeared. The very first geishas were men, entertaining customers waiting to see the most popular and gifted Oiran."
This was only a photoshoot anyway, so don't take me being dressed like this seriously. I personally think that Oirans are wildly beautiful and artistic.
Of course there are those people who will ask "Why on Earth would you want to dress up as an Oiran? Don't you know what they are?" What's the difference with seeing a girl dress up in suggestive cosplay? Anyhow, I really enjoyed this photoshoot. It was something out of the ordinary and something that was definitely on my list of things to do before I leave Japan. Actually, the special grand opening price is what convinced me. Normally shoots like these range from 8000 yen ~ 20,000 yen! The photoshoot included 40 poses for only about 5000 yen!
So we ventured down to Gion and found the place. The entrance was very elegant looking. I felt like I went back in time because it truly felt like a Geisha House. Truly, truly a wonderful experience. There were only two women running the place and as they were doing our makeup and dressing us up in the kimono, I suddenly felt like Sayuri from Memoirs of a Geisha.
|The downstairs portion of the place. Very cozy! The bottom left pic is off one of the rooms where you can re-apply your makeup after the photoshoot.|
|my make up for the shoot. not the usual white-as-snow face, but of course enough to be noticeably lighter! dramatic eyelashes and to top it all off, a wig!|
|Some of the backdrops that were provided! We took photos in the colorful red room.|
|You get to choose your own kimono!|
|I chose this vibrant turquoise kimono! I love how all the colors worked together. I especially loved the huge bright yellow obi and of course the huge flower on my head haha.|
|yes, oirans show a little leg and shoulder lol.|
|LOL funny thing about this part of the photoshoot, my wig actually fell off! hahaha but it's okay we just plopped it back on and then it was back to serious faces ^____^|
Sorry about the quality but I actually took photos of the thumbnails paper we were able to keep with my camera.
Hope you enjoyed!
Anyone interested in taking photos like these (Oiran type or even Maiko type) here's the link to the studio we went to: